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There are two basic ways to leave your debt in the rearview mirror.
  1. Spend Less.
  2. Earn More.

You can supercharge your debt-crushing strategy, by focusing on not only crafting a thrifty budget, but also on using your unique talents to bring in more income.

There are countless opinions on what makes a good budget and the best ways to create one. While spreadsheets, apps, systems, and lists can all be helpful tools in your quest to spend less, at its core your budget should be about YOU!

Spend Less by Rewarding Yourself

Ultimately your planned spending should be as unique as you are and the only person who knows the best budget for you is the one that stares back at you in the mirror.

Your budget is simply an allocation of resources to necessitate what you enjoy most in life.

Confronting the reality that you’ve been spending a little more than you can afford, can be tough at first; however, in many cases, once you examine where your money is going, you can identify those places where your spending resulted in minimal joy being added. Clearly budget items such as rent or food can’t be cut out altogether, but perhaps there are ways to free up dollars to save for those things that really make you happy.

As part of a reward for embracing budgeting, it can be helpful to incentivize yourself with one or two small luxuries. These will be different for everyone, as some people really love the taste and convenience of gourmet coffee, while others would prefer to brew their java at home if it allows them to go to a concert a couple times every year. By admitting to yourself that it’s ok to spend some of your hard-earned money on small luxuries, you can focus in on limiting the expenses in other areas – if not eliminating them altogether! You might find small rewards make it easier to attain the major goal of crushing your debt.

Once you develop a plan that allows you to protect the few luxuries you cherish, you should know that your budget isn’t written in stone. It should be a dynamic plan that adapts to you and your changing priorities. Don’t mistake flexibility for a lack of discipline however! Your budget should change, just don’t use that mindset to justify routine overspending. Once you’ve settled on a spending plan for the month, try to keep your goal of being debt-free in mind.

Earn More by Tapping Creativity

While there is only so much fat to trim from a budget, there is no limit to how creative you can be when it comes to ways to make more money.

Today’s technology and the accompanying sharing/gig economies have opened up an almost infinite number of possible income streams. In the past you could look for a roommate to split the costs of an apartment , today, you can rent out that extra room five nights a month on AirBnB and potentially cash a larger cheque. Carpooling is also great, but driving for Lyft or Uber (why not both?) can actually be easier, more efficient, and put more money back in your pocket. Going the extra mile and being a great host or driver means better reviews and potentially faster debt destruction.

Applying for more hours at your current job, or looking to add a part-time service position to your schedule can certainly bring in extra income, but creating your own side gig can be a liberating – as well as lucrative – change of pace!

What’s stopping you from leveraging what you’re already good at? There is no reason not to take that photography hobby you’ve always enjoyed to the next level, or to put that Bachelor of Arts degree to use by looking for freelance writing jobs or starting a small tutoring gig.

We live in an age where you can launch a new venture from your living room in an afternoon. You can refine a new skill by reaching out to experts from around the world, and quickly build your own website without any real technical knowledge. There are countless guides and helpful online communities you can access to help get you started.

As a human being, we are more motivated to stay committed to a course of action when you can see the results quickly. While it is possible to crush your debt, one small chunk at a time, it can feel a whole lot better to push from both sides of the debt equation and watch as your debt disappears at a rapid rate.